aircraft wing in flight

Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Certificate

Rigorous and in-depth exposure to the scientific and engineering fundamentals of the aerospace field

Unlike traditional aerospace engineering programs, this Duke MEMS undergraduate certificate program is attuned to modern industry needs and designed for aspiring mechanical engineers who want to work on challenges related aircraft and spacecraft.

Courses dealing specifically with flight vehicle applications are taught by expert Duke faculty who are actively involved in cutting-edge aerospace research and who rank among the nation's most accomplished aerospace engineers.

Our graduates leave the program inspired and equipped for aerospace careers—either in industry or government, or in leading master's and PhD aerospace engineering programs.


Technical Training

The Aerospace Engineering Certificate provides Duke mechanical engineering undergraduate students with an understanding of fundamental principles of:

  • Fluid mechanics and aerodynamics
  • Dynamics and control
  • Structures and materials
  • Thermodynamics
  • Propulsion

Plus, our courses also address specific aerospace technologies for flight and space vehicles.

Research Opportunities

In addition to coursework, the program offers enriching opportunities for independent research under the supervision of a faculty member.

Hands-On Experiences

Students in this program can participate in our student chapters of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). These active co-curricular programs bring students together into communities of shared interest, provide access to hands-on projects and offer special speakers and social events.

Check out the AIAA Duke Student Chapter


All engineering undergraduates are eligible to participate in the program and qualify for certification. Although MEMS is the host department, there is a concerted effort to engage students from other departments, and to provide flexibility to help majors in other departments meet the program standards while maintaining program focus and quality. Each upper class mechanical engineering student in the Aerospace Certificate Program has the option of being assigned an academic advisor who is affiliated with the program. Successful completion of the Aerospace Certificate Program is noted on the student's academic transcript.

Certificate Requirements

Seven Courses must be completed to earn Aerospace Engineering Certificate. The certificate program focuses on upper class courses.

Fundamental mechanical engineering courses: Select two courses. (Note: two courses are already required for ME major; substitutions are possible for non ME students.)

  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Control Systems
  • Heat and Mass Transfer

Foundation Course (centerpiece course)

  • Aircraft Performance and Design

Core Aerospace Electives

Choose one (restricted list):

  • Aerodynamics
  • Compressible Fluid Flow
  • Aerospace Structures

Supporting Engineering Electives

Choose two electives from the list below or from the Core Aerospsace Electives List.

  • Graduation with Departmental Distinction Independent Project (If project is aerospace related, it can be used for Graduation with Departmental Distinction).
  • Independent Project (If Aerospace related, independent project numbers from other Pratt departments are permitted.)
  • Pratt Fellows Independent Study (If Aerospace related; Pratt Fellows from other departments are permitted.)
  • Introduction to Vibrations
  • Special Topics Coures related to Aerospace Engineering. Special Topics Courses from other Pratt departments are permissible given appropriate content.
  • Intermediate Dynamics
  • Modern Control and Dynamic Systems
  • Advanced Mechanical Vibrations
  • Engineering Acoustics
  • Finite Element Method
  • Introduction to Robots and Automation
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematical Fluid Dynamics

Other upper class and graduate level courses in related areas such as control, robotics, and structures are also permissible subject to approval of the aerospace certificate program coordinator. New courses may also be created in the future. For instance, the courses in aerospace structures and aerospace vehicle stability and control are under development.

Arts and Sciences Course

Select one course offered by Trinity College of Arts and Sciences in one of the following areas:

  • History (if applicable to the role of technology and 
  • science);
  • Public Policy (if applicable to the use and impact of technology); or
  • Economics (if applicable to large or international corporate structures).

Courses are to be approved by the certificate coordinator; other course options will be considered on an individual basis with consideration given to the relevance to the field.

Certificate Coordinator

Donald B. BlissDonald B. Bliss

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Duke MEMS